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January 3, 2009 by Melinda Young

The quiet suburb of Mundaring sits in the foothills about thirty kilometres east of the Perth CBD. It is surrounded by valleys, hillsides, farming areas and over two square kilometres of State Forrest. It is home to the Mundaring Weir and boasts a unique lifestyle nestled in the hills, in the outer metropolitan area.

However, havoc is brewing. A new development project has been disrupting the values and expectations of the Mundaring community. A few months ago, a proposal was put to the Mundaring Shire to place a Hungry Jacks outlet in the now unoccupied Hills Gazette office. Since that time, there has been unrest and protests by a vocal minority. They claim that allowing Hungry Jacks to serve fast-food is not conducive to the lifestyle of the Mundaring community. It is believed that if people want fast-food, they should make the twenty minute journey down the hill, to Midland. (It should be noted that the further-lying suburbs of Parkerville, Sawyers Valley and Chidlow use Mundaring as their 'city centre' to buy groceries etc. For the inhabitants of these suburbs, the journey to Midland would be in excess of thirty minutes.)

They do not want Mundaring to become 'too commercialized'. It is thought that Hungry Jacks is contrary to "retaining the spirit of the hills lifestyle and village-style communities": Shire of Mundaring. This minority does not want Mundaring immersed in capitalism.


This is contradictory to the pre-existing KFC, fish and chip shop, and pizza-bar. Similarly the marketing of the Mundaring Weir and Heritage listed buildings as tourist attractions is consumerist. Mundaring is not outside of capitalist structures because of a geographic distance from the blatant consumer-haven of Midland.

Here there is an industrial centre, one of each known fast-food outlets, Target, K-Mart, Bunnings and cinema complexes. The Mundaring vision of providing "a home for creative people" (Shire of Mundaring) is not mutually exclusive to urban development. Mundaring aims to "meet the needs of young people": Shire of Mundaring. What better way than providing much needed employment opportunities? Fast-food outlets are often regarded as the epitome of commercialism. A minority of Mundaring residents may be nostalgic for an artsy, cottage, hobbit-style community, but it needs to be acknowledged that their shire is not outside the capitalist state. The buck does not stop at Mundaring.